Escapement Watches Review: Breitling Transocean Unitime Pilot


The Manufacture Breitling Caliber B05 housed within the Breitling Transocean Unitime Pilot allows the wearer to adjust the time, turning the crown in either direction, without any detriment to the movement. We write about it on our Escapement watch blog.

A few years ago, the legendary songstress Cher belted out the lyrics, “If I could turn back time”.

It sounds wonderful to be able to erase the past and re-experience a moment in history from an alternative perspective. There are times when I wish I could relive a snap-shot in time and act differently, with the benefit of hindsight. Like many I have acted in haste only to subsequently regret my words and deeds. Alas, our actions often leave an indelible mark which, in some instances, sets us on a path we find difficult to veer from.

However, for the globetrotting flight professional, turning back time is something that often happens in their daily working lives. A pilot will often contend with working in different time zones and will need to turn back the hands of time on their watch.


There is a problem with adjusting time and, more specifically the date. On some movements, the action of turning back the date disc, can cause irreparable harm to the movement. However, this is not so with the Manufacture Breitling Caliber B05. This watch allows the wearer to adjust the time, turning the crown in either direction, without any detriment to the movement.

The Swiss company, Breitling, have a long history of empathizing with the needs of the busy flight-professional, harking back to the 1930s with the advent of their first iconic chronographs.

This particular model features a crown-adjustable worldtime system that allows the wearer to move the inner bezel to display the chosen city at noon. The wearer can then read off the applicable time, from any of the 24 time zones displayed, courtesy of the double-disc system.

The dial

The Transocean Unitime Pilot is available with a choice of black or blue dials. The black dial variant is particularly attractive and would be my preferred choice.


Breitling have repeatedly shown they are masters of imparting time with peerless legibility. This particular model has numerous functions displayed yet remains user-friendly and simple to interpret.

The hour and minute hands are unfussy in their style, and proffer excellent nocturnal legibility, thanks to luminescent hands. The tasteful execution of the hands does not confuse or distract, perfect prerequisites for those who frequent a cockpit as part of their professional role.

Hours are marked with clean, rectangular batons, save for noon where Arabic numerals are presented in timeless font sans serifs. Adjacent each hour marker is a small, luminescent dot, except at 12 o’clock are presented.

Three subdials are presented: a 30-minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock, a 12-hour chronograph counter at 6 o’clock and a subsidiary seconds display at 9 o’clock. All three subdials employ the same design language, combining Arabic numerals and batons, imparting information with neat silver hands.

The central chronograph seconds hand is an object lesson in how to present a stop watch function. The watch has a frequency of 4 Hertz, and Breitling have shown 1/4 second integers on the scale presented. It sounds a small detail, but I am increasingly irritated by chronographs that shows integer of 1/5 of a second, when the frequency of the movement means the chronograph hand will seldom interface with the markings displayed. Moreover, the central chronograph hand is super-slim, allowing small measurements to be easily discerned.

The brand’s nomen resides below noon with the date of its inception clearly stated. A golden Breitling logo provides a redolent historical flourish with its retro font.

The case

Measuring 46 mm in diameter, the case is large and may not appeal to those of small stature. However, the case diameter does provide a sufficiently large dial area to ensure ease of read-off.


The finish of the case is satin-brushed on the stainless steel version. A highly polished red gold version and a limited edition black steel version (1000 pieces) are also available.

Those with nostalgic leanings will probably be attracted to the steel Milanese-style mesh bracelet. Indeed, I adore its textured form and it would be my preferred choice, albeit the leather straps do look attractive.

The crown is neat, cuddling the caseband and not unduly protruding. Its knurled finish is delightfully executed, affording good tactility and ease of adjustment. The Breitling “B” logo adorns the vertical flank faithful to many wonderful Breitling watches of yesteryear.

The movement

The patented Caliber B05 is a chronometer, with certification issued by COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres). The exhaustive testing regime challenges the rate keeping of the movement and is tested in five different positions, at three different temperatures and appraised over several days. Only if the movement meets this stringent criteria, is it afforded the highly regarded COSC certification. It should therefore come as no surprise that only a small number of watches made, 3% of Swiss watch production, meet this standard.


It stands testament to the prowess of Breitling Chronométrie Workshops in La Chaux-de-Fonds that the Caliber B05 is accompanied with COSC certification.

The specification of the Caliber B05 includes a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz), 56 jewels, and impressive power reserve that exceeds 70 hours.


The Breitling Transocean Unitime Pilot is highly legible and handsome. It offers a manufacture movement which bestows accuracy and user-friendly operation.

The double-disc system allows the fortunate wearer to contend with life across more than one timezone and admirably meets the needs of pilots who have to juggle timezones as part of their daily lives.

Those of us who have damaged a movement by changing the date at an inopportune moment, necessitating the remedial attentions of a competent watchmaker, can appreciate the safety conferred with the Caliber B05. Indeed, the Breitling Transocean Unitime Pilot allows you to safely “turn back time” when necessary.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Breitling Transocean Unitime Pilot
  • Reference: AB0510U6
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 42.00 mm; height 15.4 mm; water resistant to 10 bar (100 meters); sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central seconds; date; worldtime; chronograph.
  • Movement: Breitling Caliber B05, self-winding; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 56 jewels; power reserve over 70 hours.
  • Bracelet: Steel mesh bracelet.

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